River Akagera navigation to ease EAC transport costs

The Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) has requested the East African Community secretariat to work on the navigation of River Akagera as one way of reducing the high costs of doing business.
Elias Twagira the Director of Planning at RTDA at the meeting in Mwanza (Photo G Muramira)
Elias Twagira the Director of Planning at RTDA at the meeting in Mwanza (Photo G Muramira)

The Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) has requested the East African Community secretariat to work on the navigation of River Akagera as one way of reducing the high costs of doing business.

River Akagera, the largest single inflow into Lake Victoria, navigates through the Burundi–Tanzania, Rwanda–Tanzania, Burundi–Rwanda, and Tanzania–Uganda borders.

Elias Twagira, the Director of Planning at the agency, yesterday, said that although Rwanda has gone a long way in navigating the river, it is equally pertinent that other EAC partner states do navigation to identify a transport network on the river. 

“We have gone over 60 percent in the navigation exercise, what we want now is for other countries to do the same,” he said during the Lake Victoria basin investment forum taking place in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Twagira said that a Swiss consulting firm – ITECO which is carrying out navigation on the river would, by early next year, submit its report to government for consideration.

With a transport network on the river, Rwanda will be cutting costs where it is estimated that 25$ - 30$ is spent on one tonne of goods by water transport while 100$ -120$ is spent on road transport.

“It would be easy for us to offload goods like cement from Kisumu at Kagitumba border instead of waiting for trucks which go through many border points,” he said.

“What is needed now is sharing information on what each partner state is doing to have the network in place.”
Phillip Wambugu the EAC Director of Planning said that a maritime corridor for East Africa would soon be developed to enable development of Lamu and Mtwara ports.

Tom Okurut the Executive Secretary of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) said that River Akagera had now been included in the Commission’s navigation programme for Lake Victoria.

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